The Short Answer is:
Your dog should not be given cocoa butter under any circumstances. It is likely to give your dog a touch of diarrhea and maybe a bit of vomiting if your dog eats a small amount of cocoa butter, but if your dog eats a large portion it may be fatal. Depending on your dog’s size and weight, a large portion may be considered.
In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Cocoa Butter?“.
- Can dogs eat cocoa butter?
- What is Cocoa Butter?
- What is it used to make?
- Why is it poisonous to dogs?
- How much theobromine is in cocoa butter?
- How much cocoa butter would it take to kill a dog?
- Is cocoa powder any safer than cocoa butter?
- What are the symptoms of cocoa butter (chocolate) poisoning?
- What should I do if my dog eats cocoa butter?
- Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (moisturizers)?
- Is shea butter any safer?
- Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (baking)?
Many cake baking recipes call for cocoa butter which is a common ingredient in commercial moisturizers and homemade moisturizers alike.
Is it safe for dogs though?
It may surprise you to learn the answer! Your dogs health can be adversely affected by cocoa butter and it may even be fatal.
Please read this article carefully before giving your dog cocoa butter if you have it around the house.
Let me start by telling you what I think.
Can dogs eat cocoa butter?
Your dog should not be given cocoa butter under any circumstances.
It is likely to give your dog a touch of diarrhea and maybe a bit of vomiting if your dog eats a small amount of cocoa butter but if your dog eats a large portion it may be fatal.
Depending on your dogs size and weight a large portion may be considered.
Later on in this article I explore this issue in much greater detail and give more precise amounts.
I’d like to begin by explaining what cocoa butter is.
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a natural fat obtained from the seeds of the cacao plant (Theobroma cacao). Pale yellow solid it melts at body temperature and tastes nutty and rich.
A semi-solid fat similar to vegetable shortening cocoa butter is white or light yellow in color.
While it has a pleasant cocoa aroma it is not as sweet as chocolate.
Since it melts at body temperature (96 degrees F) it feels smooth on your skin making it a popular moisturizer ingredient.
It seems unlikely that anyone here feeds their dog cocoa butter because lets face it that would be a bit nuts.
There are some dogs however who will eat just about anything.
There are many of you out there who have dogs that will try to destroy and eat cocoa butter moisturizer if left alone.
If you turn your back someone will steal a tub of cocoa butter buttons from the kitchen worktop.
Is cocoa butter safe for your dog to eat if it accidentally gets into his mouth?
Pets should not be given cocoa butter due to some concerns. Although cocoa butter does not appear to be dangerous to dogs or cats it has been known to cause allergic reactions in humans and other animals when consumed in large quantities. Consequently you should always use caution when giving your pet a new food supplement that has not been approved by your veterinarian.
What is it used to make?
Chocolate butter is a fat derived from cocoa plants. In addition to producing cocoa beans the plant also produces chocolate. At room temperature cocoa butter is solid while at body temperature it melts. In addition to theobroma oil it is also known as cacao butter. A cocoa beans fatty part known as cacao mass is pressed into cocoa butter. As a result a liquid is formed which is then boiled until it solidifies.
Because cocoa butter contains antioxidants and is stable at high temperatures it is used in many food and cosmetic products. As well as helping to prevent oil separation in baked goods such as cookies and brownies it enhances the texture flavor and mouthfeel of chocolate confections. For centuries cocoa butter has been used to make skin lotions soaps and cosmetics. Occasionally it is added to foods like popcorn and chocolate bars to give them a rich creamy texture. Other foods with cocoa butter such as peanut butter and baked goods as well as lotions and lip balms may also contain small amounts.
Why is it poisonous to dogs?
Cocoa butter is generally not suitable for dogs to eat. To dogs and humans it contains a toxic substance called theobromine. Its best to keep your dog away from all foods containing cocoa or chocolate because theobromine is found in all types of chocolate.
Cocoa butter is toxic to dogs according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). According to their website “Cocoa bean shells contain theobromine which can be harmful to dogs.” Cocoa bean shells contain antioxidant flavonoids that give chocolate its dark color.
Cocoa butter should be kept away from pets according to the ASPCA as it can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The consumption of cocoa butter in large quantities can be fatal for dogs. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of cocoa butter or chocolate products containing cocoa butter.
How much theobromine is in cocoa butter?
Theobromine is present in all forms of cocoa beans including cocoa powder dark chocolate and white chocolate. As the cocoa beans are fermented before being processed into cocoa butter or cocoa liquor the amount of theobromine they contain varies.
There is about 1% theobromine in the average cocoa bean. Cocoa butter contains varying amounts of theobromine depending on the type of cocoa bean and how its processed. Natural cocoa powder on the other hand contains higher levels of theobromine than Dutch-processed cocoa powder. In cocoa butter theobromine is generally found at dosages ranging from 26 mg/Kg to 140 mg/Kg. However depending on how cocoa butter is processed it may be found in lower concentrations. Theobromine is found in only 1% to 2% of most commercial cocoa butter brands.
How much cocoa butter would it take to kill a dog?
There has been extensive research and debate among veterinarians and researchers regarding theobromine levels that are toxic for dogs. There is evidence that pup size type and amount of chocolate consumed all play a role in levels of toxicity but the exact amount of chocolate that is fatal remains unclear. A report states that dogs will show general toxic effects at doses of 20 mg/kg with more severe signs at doses of 40-50 mg/kg. There is a 60 mg/kg threshold for seizures in most cases.
A very large amount of cocoa butter would be required to kill a dog. In dogs theobromines lethal dose is around 100 to 200 mg/kg (a lethal dose that kills 50% of the population). The amount of cocoa butter required to kill a dog would be between 10 and 20 grams per kilogram. Approximately 200 to 400 grams (7 to 14 ounces) of cocoa butter would be enough for a 20 kg (44 lb) dog.
Is cocoa powder any safer than cocoa butter?
There is no safety difference between cocoa powder and cocoa butter; cocoa powder may be even more dangerous. Taking even a small amount of cocoa powder could be potentially harmful or even fatal for your dog because cocoa powder contains more theobromine than cocoa butter.
There are two forms of chocolate commonly used in cooking and baking: cocoa powder and cocoa butter. By grinding cocoa beans into a fine powder cocoa powder is made and cocoa butter is made by extracting the fat from cocoa beans.
Cocoa powder and cocoa butter contain high levels of caffeine and theobromine which are toxic to dogs. Furthermore cocoa powder contains oxalates which are harmful to kidneys. It is best to avoid giving your dog any products containing cocoa powder or cocoa butter because of these reasons.
When your dog consumes products containing cocoa powder or cocoa butter look for signs of toxicity such as vomiting diarrhea panting tremors and seizures. Observe any of these symptoms and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of cocoa butter (chocolate) poisoning?
Cocoa butter contains a compound called theobromine which is toxic to dogs. When dogs consume theobromine they may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea as well as heart problems. There are a number of symptoms associated with Cocoa Butter (Chocolate) Poisoning including:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lethargy (tiredness) and depression
- Increased thirst and urination
- Hyperactivity or restlessness
- Muscle tremors or weakness
Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately if your dog ingests cocoa butter or any other product that contains theobromine. Treatment for your dog as soon as possible will increase its chances of a full recovery.
What should I do if my dog eats cocoa butter?
The first thing you should do if your dog eats cocoa butter is called your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital. It may even be recommended that you bring your dog in for treatment if they can advise you on what to do next.
Try to keep your dog calm and quiet in the meantime. Do not give them any food or water as this may cause them to vomit. Also watch for signs of toxicity such as vomiting diarrhea panting tremors or seizures. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.
Dogs should avoid cocoa butter at all costs because it is dangerous for them. In case your dog does ingest it seek medical attention as soon as possible. Most dogs will recover completely if they receive prompt treatment.
Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (moisturizers)?
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly alternative to cocoa butter you have several options. Alternatively you can make your own dog-safe moisturizer at home using a hypoallergenic lotion or moisturizer.
Combine equal parts of coconut oil and olive oil to make your own moisturizer. Mix in a few drops of lavender essential oil. The mixture can be applied to your dogs skin as needed.
Dogs should not use cocoa butter but there are many other products that can be used in its place. Ask your veterinarian about other options if you’re concerned about cocoa butter on your dog. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a safe and effective product for your pup.
Is shea butter any safer?
African shea trees produce a fatty substance called shea butter that hardens when exposed to air. The pure fat of shea butter leaves behind traces of cocoa butter which has been pressed to remove impurities. In contrast to cocoa butter which has a low melting point shea butter remains solid at room temperature and melts when rubbed on the skin.
As with cocoa butter there is no definitive answer about whether shea butter is safe for dogs to consume. While some sources claim it is completely safe others warn that it might cause stomach upset. Whenever you give your dog any new food or treat its always best to consult with your veterinarian first.
There is a possibility that shea butter can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs due to its high-fat content. Additionally shea butter contains toxins that may harm your dog. It is best to avoid giving your dog any products containing shea butter for these reasons.
Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (baking)?
Instead of cocoa butter (baking) you can use the following substitutes:
Peanut butter is a popular alternative to cocoa butter that is safe for dogs to eat. Make sure the product does not contain xylitol as this can be toxic to dogs.
Carob is a chocolate-like substance that is safe for dogs to eat. Recipes that call for cocoa butter can be substituted with this product. Carob does not contain caffeine and it contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder.
Coconut oil is another popular alternative to cocoa butter that is safe for dogs to consume. For the best results for your dog make sure you use virgin coconut oil that has not been refined or refined.
As with any new food or supplement slowly introduce cocoa butter (or any of the substitutes above) into your dogs diet and gradually increase as tolerated. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about giving your dog a new food or supplement.
As you can see there is no definitive answer as to whether dogs can eat cocoa butter. Each of these products has its own unique composition so it is best to consult the manufacturer directly if this product is appropriate for your dog. Contact a veterinarian if you discover your pet has consumed cocoa butter against your will.
It is best to consider the different characteristics of cocoa butter when determining whether a dog can consume it. You can determine whether or not your dog can eat it by knowing its nutritional value and whether it may cause an allergic reaction.